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Orange, Virginia
—  Town  —
Location of Orange, Virginia
Coordinates: 38°14′45″N 78°6′35″W / 38.24583°N 78.10972°W / 38.24583; -78.10972
Country United States
State Virginia
County Orange
 - Total 3.2 sq mi (8.4 km2)
 - Land 3.2 sq mi (8.4 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 522 ft (159 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 4,123
 - Density 1,274.1/sq mi (491.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 22960
Area code(s) 540
FIPS code 51-59496[1]
GNIS feature ID 1498525[2]

Orange is a town in Orange County, Virginia, United States. The population was 4,123 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Orange County[3]. Orange is northeast of Charlottesville, and near Montpelier.



Orange is located at 38°14′45″N 78°6′35″W / 38.24583°N 78.10972°W / 38.24583; -78.10972 (38.245894, -78.109786)[4].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.4 km²), of which, 3.2 square miles (8.4 km²) of it is land and 0.31% is water.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 4,123 people, 1,607 households, and 1,010 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,274.1 people per square mile (491.3/km²). There were 1,712 housing units at an average density of 529.0/sq mi (204.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 76.84% White, 20.96% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.68% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.70% of the population.

There were 1,607 households out of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 18.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.1% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 19.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 86.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $28,576, and the median income for a family was $38,103. Males had a median income of $30,439 versus $19,233 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,805. About 16.1% of families and 21.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.9% of those under age 18 and 15.9% of those age 65 or over.

Orange County School System

  • 1: Orange County High School
  • 2: Prospect Heights Middle School
  • 3: Locust Grove Middle School
  • 4: Locust Grove Elementary School
  • 5: Orange Elementary School
  • 6: Unionville Elementary School (Pre-k thru 2)
  • 7: Gordon Barber Upper Elementary School
  • 8: Lightfoot Upper Elementary School (grades 3-5)
  • 9: unnamed school currently under development in east end of the county
  • 10: (TEAC) Taylor Educational Administration Complex (school administrative offices

Heritage sites

The Town of Orange contains numerous examples of historic architecture, as well as several notable historic sites. Prior to the American Civil War, Orange was the center of commerce and justice for Orange County, Virginia, and a number of antebellum buildings survive today. For this reason, the Orange Commercial Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1800, Paul Verdier purchased the property of William Bell, an 18th century farm that included much of the modern-day Town of Orange. Bell’s Tavern was a part of this property, which Verdier renamed the Orange Hotel. The Orange Hotel stood at the site of what is now the historic Orange Court House (constructed in 1859). In 1819, Verdier relocated his residence to a house he named Montpeliso, which is still extant. [5][6]

Shortly thereafter, Verdier divided his property into town lots, creating a town layout that survives largely intact. By 1830, at least two federal-style brick structures were standing on West Main. One is locally known as the Sparks building, and the other as the Doctor Holladay House. The oldest building in the Town of Orange is another brick structure called Spring Garden.[7][8]

The Town of Orange was a strategically important location during the American Civil War. Just north of town, the Rapidan River was effectively the northern border of the Confederacy from March 1862 to May 1864. Consequently, the area witnessed countless troop movements, patrols, skirmishes, and encampments. In addition, the Town of Orange served as General Robert E. Lee's headquarters during that time. In fact, General Lee worshipped at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Caroline Street, which still stands today. This church is also significant because it served as a hospital for Confederate wounded after the Battle of Chancellorsville, and the Battle of the Wilderness. Lee passed by this church many times during his stay in Orange, and Mort Künstler, a famous artist of American historical subjects, immortalized this scene in his painting Soldier of Faith.[9][10]

Following the devastation to Warrenton, Virginia, during the Civil War, George Scott Shackelford moved from Warrenton to Charlottesville and later to Orange in 1881, where he was an attorney, Mayor of Orange, member of the Virginia House of Delegates, the Virginia State Senate, the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia, and later judge of the Ninth Virginia Judicial Circuit. Shackelford married Virginia Minor Randolph, daughter of Dr. Wilson Cary Nicholas Randolph of Charlottesville, great-great-grandson of President Thomas Jefferson.[11] Shackelford resided at his residence The Poplars outside Orange. His descendants also lived at Willow Grove plantation, two miles from Orange.[12] The Shackelford family later took an active role in the Monticello Association.[13]

The town continued to thrive into the twentieth century. Fire destroyed much of the eastern part of town in 1908, but many of the buildings constructed shortly after the fire still remain. In fact, Orange was well-known for its silk mill, which produced many of the parachutes used by U.S. troops during World War 2. The silk mill finally closed in the 1970s, but the building still remains and is used by local businesses, including a restaurant.

Notable natives and residents


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  5. ^ Walker, Frank S.: "Remembering: A History of Orange County, Virginia." Orange County Historical Society, 2004.
  6. ^ Miller, Ann L.: "Antebellum Orange." Moss Publications, 1988.
  7. ^ Walker, Frank S.: "Remembering: A History of Orange County, Virginia." Orange County Historical Society, 2004.
  8. ^ Miller, Ann L.: "Antebellum Orange." Moss Publications, 1988.
  9. ^ Walker, Frank S.: "Remembering: A History of Orange County, Virginia." Orange County Historical Society, 2004.
  10. ^ Miller, Ann L.: "Antebellum Orange." Moss Publications, 1988.
  11. ^ Proceedings of the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Meeting of the Virginia Bar Association, Virginia Bar Association, Vol. XXXI, John B. Minor (ed.), Richmond Press Inc., 1919
  12. ^ Willow Grove, Journey Through Hallowed Ground, A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary Along Route 15 in Virginia's Piedmont, The National Park Service
  13. ^ A Guide to the George Green Shackelford Papers, Alderman Memorial Library, University of Virginia
  14. ^ Board of Trustees, Shenandoah National Park Trust

External links



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